Classic Pinball Machines are a Great Investment

are pinball machines a good investment

Are pinball machines a good investment. Well I would like to publicly state that those people are dead wrong. At least they are based on my 15 years of easily killing the stock market with my own pinball machines.

Over the years, I have bought and sold hundreds of machines. I can’t revisit all of those deals — as it would take me all day.

Let’s just look at the games that I currently have in my main game room.

My garage games are all fixer uppers and those get kind of hard to properly determine the return.

This is because any game that needs serious work is going to be cheap. You have to put blood, sweat, and tears (and money) into them to get them nice again.

These would not be fair to compare against stocks, which do not require anything but money.

A more fair comparison to the stock market are games that I have purchased fully working and in nice shape.

So let’s do a quick review of such games:

Creature From the Black Lagoon

Creature from the Black Lagoon

  • Purchased 1998 for $1300 from a vending company.
  • Estimated current value: $3500

Return on investment:

  • Annualized return: 7.61%
  • Return for the entire period: 169.16%

Over the years we have played this 2779 times. So at 50 cents per game, Creature has provided $1389.50 worth of entertainment. Minus roughly $75 in parts (bulbs, rubbers, Cliffy protector) used over the years and you have a dividend of $1314.50.

Did I beat the market?

Yes beat it by $1,378.31 and including dividends beat it by $2692.81.

Pinball machines are a good investment

White Water

  • Purchased in 2000 for $1100 at the Allentown Pinball Show.
  • Estimated current value: $2750

Return on investment:

  • Annualized return: 8.79%
  • Return for the entire period: 150%

Over the years we have played this 2576 times at 50 cents per game. So White Water has provided $1288 worth of entertainment. Minus roughly $150 in parts (bulbs, rubbers, a few replacement boulder caps) used over the years and you have a dividend of $1138.

Did I beat the market?

Yes beat it by $1,263.78 and including dividends beat it by $2401.78.

Fish Tales

  • Purchased in 2009 for $900 from another collector.
  • Current value $1800

Return on investment:

  • Annualized return: 29.31%
  • Return for the entire period: 100%

Not sure on exact total plays on the Fish Tales, as audits were erased during a recent ROM upgrade.

Did I beat the market?

Yes beat it by $507.71

Will pinball machines continue to be a good investment?

Only The Shadow knows I guess, but considering how desirable the 80’s and 90’s classics are — I feel very good about my own personal investments.

Are pinball machines a good investment. These games are just so amazing and well crafted. Even brand new premium limited editions games (selling for $6000 – $7000) do not fully compare to these classics (at least for me).

And pinball machines certainly provide a ton more fun than investments in the stock market. Nobody can argue with that.

So next time you have some spare money to invest, you may want to consider buying a classic pinball machine instead.